The Tablehopper

The smell of croissants is wafting in North Beach …

The viennoiserie at the newly opened La Chat Rouge in North Beach. Credit: La Chat Rouge

Good things can take time, but David Carbonell has been waiting to open his North Beach bakery for more than a year, weaving his way through a quagmire of city permits and more. And now he’s finally open. When we first reported on the project, it had a different name, and fortunately the Frenchman decided to go with something a bit easier to remember: Le Chat Rouge (1314 Grant Avenue).

The name is inspired by le pain du chat rouge, “the bread of the red cat,” from a recipe that is more than 300 years old, which is on offer. Also find an array of viennoiserie, including a frangipane almond croissant, chocolate twist, hazelnut roulé, and breads, including baguettes and pain pochon sarrasin (buckwheat bread) — and of course, madeleines (made with baratte butter from Normandy), and macarons. Carbonell is committed to it being an authentic French bakery, with almost all of the ingredients imported from France. The space has a rustic look, full of woods and vintage touches, including old bikes and more. Daily 7 a.m.–7 p.m.

Also in North Beach, the Barbary Coast Gastropub (478 Green Street, 415-788-0115) has opened in the former Bocce Cafe, just in time for everyone to enjoy that big outdoor patio. It’s from the owners of the Grant & Green Saloon. The dinner menu from chef James Liles includes a variety of wings (buffalo, Korean, and more), pizzas, a few salads like a kale Caesar, and sandwiches, from fried chicken to duck confit banh mi, and a grain bowl for you healthy types. They also just launched brunch, which is not your typical lineup: Moroccan baked eggs, an egg hopper made with crêpe batter, horchata pain perdu, biscuits with chorizo gravy, and more. There’s a full bar, happy hour runs 5–7 p.m. (draft beers from $4, house wines from $5, and craft cocktails from $8), and again, that patio! Also, for those who remember, this was the historic location of the Old Spaghetti Factory back in the day. Dinner Wednesday–Monday from 5 p.m., weekend brunch 10 a.m.–2 p.m.


Here’s something to look forward to: Chef Tim Luym (Poleng Lounge, Attic) is partnering with Ted Kim (Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant in Mountain View) to open Buffalo Theory (1735 Polk Street) in early summer. The neighborhood restaurant will focus on quality craft beers (30 on tap), and Luym will create a menu of bar bites that take inspiration from “drinking food” from around the world, like Filipino pulutan (bar bites), Spanish tapas, and izakaya-inspired dishes from Japan. The staff will be highly trained on the beers. The 116-seat restaurant will have a concrete-top bar, private room, and communal tables. Sunday–Wednesday 4–11 p.m. and Thursday–Saturday 4 p.m.–midnight.


The new owners of the beloved old-school Grubstake (1525 Pine Street, 415-673-8268) diner, Nick Pigott and Jimmy Consos, have revised their redevelopment proposal, and it sounds like the Grubstake may survive in some form after all. The proposed 15-unit building will have its entrance on Austin Alley instead of Pine Street. It also sounds like they will operate the diner as-is until groundbreaking (late spring or early summer 2017) and are looking into a pop-up or temporary location for the diner during construction. They will upgrade the restaurant to “2016 standards for seismic integrity, accessibility, and water and electrical infrastructure.” But then this is where it sounds like things will be changed: “The reimagined restaurant mirrors Grubstake’s classic railcar theme, maintains the menu and vibe, and ensures Grubstake remains a neighborhood institution.”
We’ll have to find out what “reimagined” really means. In the meantime, get your caldo verde in the original funky interior while you can. Daily, 5 p.m.–4 a.m.


Many of us remember late nights at Sam Wo (713 Clay Street, 415-989-8898), and that will be happening once again in their new location with hours until 3 a.m. Friday through Saturday. Also: look for their restored neon sign to be lit up — they got permission to transfer it from the original location.


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Marcia Gagliardi writes a popular insider weekly e-column, Tablehopper, about the San Francisco dining and imbibing scene; get all the latest news at Follow @tablehopper on Twitter and Instagram for more culinary finds.